A perpetual embodiment of the androgynous, oriental aesthetic, the Akira show is always one of brilliant craftsmanship, inspired ideas and unique silhouettes. Think longline layers, loose fits, and a largely white colour palette.
Highlights of this collection included a turquoise coat/pant set with a white and beige granddad collar shirt. It was cinched at the waist with the accessory of the season – a primal red karate belt, the new obi. A few extreme long line shirts skimmed the ankle and were offered up as shirts or coats. A pure white boiler suit was layered over a beige granddad collar shirt and a candy pink cocoon coat made a statement over red layers.
The Akira signature floral was back, this time in an abstract Magnolia print supersized onto shirts and shorts. Another warm-toned abstract print was made into a kimono, referencing Akira’s Japanese heritage.
Box-cut shirts and extreme wide pants rounded out a solid collection from Akira. Was this his strongest collection? Probably not. But did it push the boundaries of androgynous and unisex fashion that little bit further? Definitely. I already have my eye on what I want!
Photos provided by Getty Images exclusively for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.
The Ascot mum brigade was out in full force last week to witness Tracey Watkins debut her SS line for White Label Noba. Transforming the Soleil Pool Bar into a pineapple haven, models strutted the length of the bar clad in the decidedly resort like line.
Taking inspiration from 60s riviera fashions, the Saint Tropez influence was clear. But whilst the cuts, colours and styles were taken from that loud and carefree period, the presentation was clearly 21st century. Loud primal colours like fuchsia, forest green and rose gold were tamed by the additions of stark white, navy and black, allowing this collection to appeal to the widest range of demographics.
As in all collections, there were clear standouts. A v-neck, handkerchief-style top in pink and green check was a wonderful addition with its trailing ends fluttering fabulously in the breeze. The meshing of laser cut bell end sleeves to a cotton shirt top was also clever. The “come fly with me” neck ties were a nice addition. A pair of white capri pants were elevated with rose gold sequins carried down the side – resembling a resort employees dress pant. The addition of a v-line of ruffles down a navy shift dress also got my approval. And in one of the final outfits out, a stunningly over the top flamenco skirt brought everyone back to the ballroom age. Also need I mention the bonus of several attractive scantily clad men that got all the Ascot mums tittering into their champagne.
However where there were hits, there had to be one or two misses. Paisley and polkadots were an expected addition, but both were a tad overused, and one or two of the kaftans seemed to have a bit too much fabric to them. But having said that, the collection as a whole was a grand success and Watkins can be suitably pleased with herself, she stayed true to her vision and the pieces will be most certainly flying off the racks.
In order to purchase the collection, head to the White Label Noba website.
Summer is coming, and not only is my summer body conspicuous by its absence, but I am positively lumpy. Shit.
On the plus side, hiding in the shadows has never been so acceptable in my eyes. The classic white and camel combo is one that I haven’t broken out in a little while, and I have no regrets. Wearing pale colours for summer is something that I’m probably not going to adopt (let’s be real, black is bae), but it’s pretty decent for a change. The addition of chinos instead of the usual jeans makes a refreshing change.
The latest extravaganza from Cirque du Soleil is about to hit our shores, with the fantastic production of Kooza the latest in their arsenal. Returning to their roots, the production highlights acrobatics and the art of clowning, two skills integral to the circus. To give me the lowdown on all the wonderful costumes in the production, I spoke with the Head of Wardrobe Jason Brass.
IOP: Jason! Great to chat with you.
JB: Hey Matt, it’s nice to hear from you.
One of the underlying concepts of Kooza is the idea of circus in a box, how did you bring this idea over into the wardrobe?
Well our French Canadian designer Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt over in Montreal pulled the costumes all together. She gained inspiration from a wide range of areas. Rock and Roll, Mad Max, Superheroes, there was a very wide gamit of design. They created the world of Kooza and what it looks like.
What were the inspirations behind the costumes?
The painter Klimt, Superheroes, Rock and Roll and it’s very heavily military inspired. We have a Red and White army for Acts 1 and 2 respectively. However the army is more like a tin soldier army if that makes sense.
Obviously being a circus, the costumes need to be quite durable, but breathable for the performers, what materials were used in the making of the costumes?
Everything from silk to wool, stretch wool, lycra, tassels, velvet, pretty much anything you could ever imagine! We were very lucky. Cirque du Soleil purchase all their fabric in white and dye it themselves, everything is embroidered by us.
There’s quite an emphasis on the idea of clowns in this production, being quite a well known historical figure, how have you updated or modernised the quintessential clown costume?
We are using more character clowns, not a traditional circus clown that one would think of. We have 3 main clowns. They’re more stylised with tail coats and represent the court jester style but a bit more modernised.
Where were the outfits produced?
Headquarters is in montreal. We take up to 300 measurements and a 3D scan for each artist. Everything is custom made. The longest costume to make is 281 hours. It’s a big process and the time takes depends on each piece. Sometimes we can do 3d printing for an outfit. It depends on the character.
Tell me about your history in costuming?
I have been in the industry for many years now, I was fortunate to work in theatre when I was 14 and fell in love with it. I’ve been with Cirque du Soleil for 15 years. I started off as a swing wardrobe technician. So being the replacement for every single person. I’ve gone to school for shoe making, hat making, wig making, sewing, construction, everything. That’s the reason I was chosen to join, because I had a broad background.
How has this experience helped you with Kooza?
Absolutely, on tour there’s only 3 full timers and we hire 4 local staff during the run. Having a wide background has definitely given me the experience necessary to maintain the designer’s vision.
Have there been any wardrobe malfunctions during Kooza? Any funny stories that you can outline?
Things happen every day. People go on with mismatching items, the artists are pretty responsible though, we get the occasional button falling off. We inspect every item every day to make sure that the artist is safe.
Ok it’s time for our rapid fire series, get ready!
I’m just going to come right out and say it. I hate this in-between season period. I am definitely one of those people who just likes to plan out what they’re wearing for the day. I don’t want to have to worry about if it’s going to get cold or hot later. I want to whack on my clothes and go.
Unfortunately we aren’t in a luxury world where it is winter 24/7, and that’s where this little thing called layering comes into practice. Being able to peel off or add on layers to your outfit makes a world of difference in general life comfort.
By subscribing to a similar colour palette you can achieve a complete look. Adding in a bit of a pattern in the middle layer – as I have here, adds an element of contrast and interest.
It’s funny how we sexualise certain objects for little to no reason. Take for example this choker – and can we just admire how bloody awesome it is?! The choker itself is not an implicitly sexual object, yet when styling it I definitely decided to play up the BDSM connotations associated with it – particularly with the addition of fingerless pleather gloves and my usual all black aesthetic. In my head it conjures up 50 shades crossed with 70s Vivienne Westwood punk, with a smattering of film noir. Skulking around in the shadows is definitely the modus operandi of this character. Now if that’s not a gigantic reference drop I don’t know what is.
Speaking of characters, this entire discussion about sexualisation was brought on by thoughts I had during the premiere of Blanc de Blanc the other night. It’s one of the few shows that sexualises both its male and female cast equally and there’s plenty of nudity on both sides.
This fantastic production takes influence from 20s French cabaret, vaudeville, burlesque, Studio 54 and of course current nightclub craziness. The show resembles the frothy champagne that’s liberally splashed on the audience – crazy, bubbly, and a whole riot of fun.
This isn’t a show to walk into if you’re a prude. This is a nipple tasseled, sparkler-in-vagina, visible peen extravaganza. This show doesn’t hint at a bit of sexual innuendo, it rampages in like a sexually deprived Tallulah Bankhead.
The cast are all fantastic and amazingly talented, they soon had the (surprisingly elderly) audience clapping along and getting very involved. Although one guy received an on-stage lap dance that he clearly did not want, the show proceeded smoothly. With music that ranged from Etta James to Edith Piaf, some of the tightest lip synchs and miming ever – with the odd aerial performance, this is a show that you’d be dumb to miss. I mean if it’s good enough for the Opera House it’s good enough for you to go and see it, ya feel?
Make sure you pop along and see Blanc de Blanc at the Brisbane Festival, buy tickets here.
In a world where the media feeds us tales of death and destruction on the daily, sometimes we can give into the fear mongering around us. This can also cross over into the fashion world. Judgements on who you should and shouldn’t be wearing, the way you’ve styled yourself, even your haircut!
Well fuck that I say.
Fear should never be the thought that drives how you dress. Fear of judgement or abuse not only constricts your style, it diminishes your confidence and prevents you from breaking out like the truly fabulous being you are.
Whether you want to emulate a particular style, dress to the trends, forge your own path or dress in your $5 rejects from Lowes, do it with confidence. Ok maybe not in a Lowes outfit…
I hate to do a cliched af post, but it’s true. Words mean jack shit if you don’t let them get to you. I’ve been yelled at on the street, abused online and judged for many a thing I’ve worn. I don’t care. If it affects me, I get maccas and move along. Yay self empowerment.
For this look I decided to channel both Chanel and old style reverend chic. The tie around my body and neck is actually a strap from the beautiful @modestoblog’s dress, and she also took these photos!
Ever since I was young I’ve had an interest in all things Russian. From battling as Ivan the Terrible during Age of Empires to studying Russia during history at school. As humans we automatically try and build our outfits around what we are interested in, so it was only natural that at some stage I would try and pop a Russian-inspired outfit into my repertoire. If only I had a faux fur hat to go with this…
This however is actually a pretty dramatic and cool look to rock for a night out (I wore this to the Zhivago show at MBFWA). The double-breasted trench is a few seasons ago, but most retailers will do a grey woollen coat that you can repurpose. This choker is actually just a really thick piece of ribbon that I secured with a velcro dot in order to get that s&m feel going. A hint of bondage goes a long way ;).
I’ve worn these cute half gloves in a previous post, but I think they add the perfect tough edge to complete this look.
In a sea of basic bitch minimalism, Zhivago stands out as a shining beacon of hope for inspired design and unique styles.
‘Death becomes her’ was the latest offering from Russian designers Lara Kovacevich and Lydia Tsvetnenko and boy did it deliver.
Offering new inspirations mixed with the classic Zhivago silhouettes and fabrics that we know and love, the religious discourse integrated into the designs made for a truly inspired show.
Walking on sky-high crucifix heels, models hobbled down the runway in fitted satin coats, trimmed with lace in jewel tones. A flowing hooded jumpsuit that was the closing look was also a highlight.
A diverse colour palette lended itself to the sequinned fabric that permeated the catwalk. Utilised in the typical Zhivago silhouette, the dresses were embellished with the thick cotton straps around the hips that we saw last year. Eveningwear elevated.
The fishing wire wrapped around the model’s faces gave a high fashion edge, and a nod to the constricting notion of death. The powerful image of the models walking on crucifixes was in itself a masterpiece as well, although for one poor model, I think they may have been a touch too high.
All in all Zhivago managed to appeal to pre-existing fans, yet deliver an inspiring new collection that is both editorial and commercially friendly.
All images were provided courtesy of Ali Gordon from Modesto Blog
I am a menswear blogger. I maintain that through and through. HOWEVER. Whenever I come across a womenswear collection that is:
Full of high quality unique pieces
Then I’m interested. These three criterion converged for me at the White Label Noba showing the other day. Set in the Royal Equestrian Centre at the RNA Showgrounds, the collection was perfectly offset by the rustic exterior.
A proliferation of flies decided to make me their host for the day, probably exacerbated by the fact I hadn’t showered (cheers neighbours for breaking that water main, stellar work) yet designer Tracey Watkins still complemented me on my smell – thanks Body Shop White Musk Sport. Ever creative, with a clear eye for colour and texture, Tracey also tells me that a lot of her materials are sourced and made in India – Jaipur and Delhi being two particular hubs (see my own vlogs for more information on travelling in India).
The collection is stunning. With a colour palette of tobacco, caramel, navy, white and black, the collection takes AW characteristic colours and elevates them to a Brisbane winter appropriate style. These pieces are definitely trans-seasonal.
Long silken shirtdresses, suede ponchos, sheer ballerina skirts, cotton artist-inspired smocks and the most beautiful beaded neckpiece that calls into mind a cowboy’s bandanna, or a Malay Tengkolok.
What’s immediately apparent about this range is the universality of it. These are cuts, colours and fabrics that suit any skin colour, age or body shape. There’s definitely pieces in there to suit everyone. It’s also very well thought out. There’s statement pieces, layering pieces, as well as items that you can dress up.
Feeling daring? Layer a graphic striped shirtdress over lace pants and top off with a pair of pumps for a great evening look. Not so body confident? Belt a cotton smock dress and team it with a statement neckpiece for a flattering look.
What’s clear to Tracey however is that “size doesn’t matter. It’s how you feel when you wear a piece of beautiful clothing that matters. That’s the secret to White Label Noba.”
Visit White Label Noba online here. Or journey in store:
WLN Signature Store
2/121 Riding Road, Hawthorne, QLD.
All pictures were provided courtesy of White Label Noba and Kath Rose PR.
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